Mr. Ruskin returned to England in July, 1852, and settled next door to his old home on Herne Hill. He said he could not live any more in Park Street, with a dead brick wall opposite his windows. And so, under the roof where he wrote the first volume of “Modern Painters,” he finished “Stones of Venice.” These latter volumes give an account of St. Mark’s and the Ducal Palace and other ancient buildings; a complete catalogue of Tintoret’s pictures—the list he had begun in 1845; and a history of the successive styles of architecture, Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance, interweaving illustrations of the human life and character that made the art what it was.
The kernel of the work was the chapter on the Nature of Gothic; in which he showed, more distinctly than in the “Seven Lamps,” and connected with a wider range of thought, suggested by Pre-Raphaelitism, the doctrine that art cannot be produced except by artists; that architecture, in so far as it is an art, does not mean mechanical execution, by unintelligent workmen, from the vapid working-drawings of an architect’s office; and, just as Socrates postponed the day of justice until philosophers should be kings and kings philosophers, so Ruskin postponed the reign of art until workmen should be artists, and artists workmen.
THE EDINBURGH LECTURES (1853-1854)
By the end of June, 1853, “Stones of Venice” was finished, as well as a description of Giotto’s works at Padua, written for the Arundel Society. The social duties of the season were over; Ruskin and his wife went north to spend a well-earned holiday. At Wallington in Northumberland, staying with Sir Walter and Lady Trevelyan, he met Dr. John Brown at Edinburgh, author of “Pet Marjorie” and other well-known works, who became his lifelong friend. Ruskin invited Millais, by this time an intimate and